Tulsa-based Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MMP) announced Monday (Sept. 16) that it has launched an open season to “assess firm customer interest” to transport refined petroleum products to Little Rock, Arkansas.

“Open season” is an industry term for a process in which a project sponsor proposes a package of key terms and design parameters for a potential pipeline project to prospective customers and solicits bids for contracting capacity on that project.  Federal regulators typically require the “open season” process.

Interested customers must submit binding commitments by 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2013.

If interest is high enough and Magellan moves forward with the project, it must still receive regulatory approval. If approved, the potential pipeline could be operational in the third quarter of 2015.

Magellan said the project would include construction of an approximately 160-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline capable of transporting 75,000 barrels per day of gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from its Ft. Smith terminal, providing the Little Rock market access to refined products from Mid-Continent and Gulf Coast refineries.

While the Pegasus pipeline, which has been closed since an early April rupture in the Mayflower area, has been high-profile, the new Magellan pipeline project may serve another need in the region.

In May, Talk Business reported that Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners announced plans to cease providing jet fuel by pipeline to Little Rock and Jonesboro, a move that threatened fuel sources for aviation and some trucking interests in Arkansas.

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